German tragedy of destiny

German camps

 

<-- HOME | <-- PRISONERS' CAMPS

 

By February 1945, the Allies collected the captured German soldiers still in France in the vicinity of the supply ports.

 

After crossing the Rhine, the number of prisoners exploded and temporary camps were set up in the open field along the Rhine and the Neckar rivers, from Heilbronn to Rheinsberg.

 

There were camps at the following locations:

Rheinberg, Remagen, Bad Kreuznach,

Büderich, Sinzig, Winzenheim, Biebelsheim,

Dietersheim, Wickrathberg, Koblenz,

Andernach, Heidesheim, Urmitz, Böhl,

Ludwigshafen és Heilbronn

 

Those who now believed themselves in safety were terribly wrong. The camps with 50,000 up to 100,000 men were completely overcrowded.

 

A total of 900,000 prisoners camped on the Rhine meadows. The future president of the United States, General Eisenhower, refused the captured soldiers the status of prisoners of war and interned them as "disarmed enemy personnel". Thus the German prisoners were denied rights under the Geneva Conventions.

 

 

DEATH ON THE RHINE MEADOWS

 

Everything was missing - food, drinking water, sanitation, shelter, medicine, blankets and clothing, although all that were available in sufficient quantity in the area, for example food in Wehrmacht depots and accomodation in barracks still intact. Residents of the neighborhood who wanted to help were threatened with firearm and heavy penalties.

 

Holes were dug with bare hands, creating a makeshift protection against wind and weather.

 

Due to desperate hunger the men ate almost everything: frogs, snails, roots, grass and from sheer thirst drank their own urine.

 

Late April began a continuous rain transforming all in wet, cold mud desert.

 

There were no toilets, tree trunks or simple pits were used as latrines. Due to the incredible hygienic conditions, the total malnutrition, permanent hypothermia and lack of medicine death was omnipresent.

 

Thousands got pneumonia, dysentery and typhoid. Tens of thousands died miserably.